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Joey Ponce of City in Green has developed a visual, educational guide to planting pollinator friendly native plants. His City in Green project focuses on the documentation and hopeful proliferation of native plants, organic gardening and environmental curiousities in an urban landscape.
City in Green hopes to reconnect the city to its roots by reintroducing the practices of native landscaping and organic gardening, creating a beneficial urban environment to be experienced and enjoyed by all.
I talk up natives a lot. Native plants are those that have grown in our climate zone long before a single human foot ever landed in our country.
I like to imagine what Indiana may have looked like long before agriculture, settlers, even humans. We know that Indiana was woodland and praries; tall, beautiful trees, a dense forest floor and open praries of grasses and wildflowers. Perfectly manicured lawns, green and uniform. The same rows of street trees at nearly every turn. And that got me thinking: Is this the best use of our yard and green spaces?
Turns out, there are better choices we could be making. And as good as they are for the general ecology for our region, they also happen to be pretty beneficial to our own wallets and time. Below are seven alternatives to common yard plants. They are native perennials, meaning, they understand the climate here better than we do, and they can survive it our effects on that climate aside.
Turf grass is one of the biggest culprits of wasting water, zero ecological value and a time-suck for anyone who wants to keep it looking decent.
An even bigger issue is the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used to keep them green, and pest and weed free. Pennsylvania sedge carex pensylvanica is a fantastic alternative for the traditional turf lawn. This sedge grass, fine in texture, grows long blades of grass that flop over and create a beautiful, long, wavy lawn. Pennsylvania sedge can live in dry soil and in full-sun or full-shade.
The grass can be divided up over the years to fill in empty spots, and this stuff thrives once its established, spreading relatively quickly. So think about it: less mowing, less watering, more money, more time. People enjoy ground covers. They take up a lot of space and cover up your messy floors for the minimum amount of maintenance. But this common plant also introduces our first invasive species: English Ivy.
For a complete list of invasive plants, visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The alternative: Wild ginger. Wild ginger is a fast growing ground cover with nice, big heart-shaped leaves.
This plant grows in shade and greens early in the spring through late in the fall. Hostas are native to northeast Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. They were introduced to Europe in the midth century by a European botanist. Imagine a mulchy forest floor, humid and shady. Down in the shade grew, not hostas, but ferns. Small and giant, huge fern fronds all over the place.
They have these curling, hairy little tentacle things that unfold and unfurl these large, beautiful leaves. Some beautiful native ferns include the Cinnamon fern shown above , Christmas fern and Ostrich fern. Daylilies are another one of those Asian plants that was brought over at some point in time. Daylilies are everywhere. And they are all blooming funny enough, at the exact time I happen to be writing this blog post.
They grow like crazy; their thick tuberous roots help them establish and also make them near impossible to get rid of. But I get it, these flowers bloom early and bloom big, making them nice to look at and a comforting note that summer is nearly here. They bush up during the spring, and then, almost all at once, explode with tons of bright yellow flowers—and then they stay that way into the fall. The petals on these are beautiful, like jagged, long yellow flutes. They attract butterflies, can tolerate heat and drought, and fill up in no time.
Instead of wisteria, plant American Bittersweet. Along with ground covers, we really love climbing vines. Especially those climbing vines that grow fast and full. Often, people choose the beautiful Chinese wisteria as that vine.
There is, however, a good home-grown alternative: The American Bittersweet. This vine thrives in our region. With much thinner branches than the wisteria, it weaves its way up any trellises, gazebos, fences and lattices that you need it to.
It blooms a bunch of little yellow flowers in the summer, and then, at the end of the season, has all the bright red little berries all over it that compliment the fall colors happening all around as well. The berries stay bright red well into the winter, giving you some reminders of life durging those cold and chilling times.
You need two vines, a male and a female. You want both of them to allow the plant to pollinate and thrive. And 2. One of the dangers of invasive plants is their opportunity to cross-pollinate with natives and take them over at a genetic level. Such is the case with the Oriental bittersweet.
The second is an invasive vine that has cross-pollinated with the American vine over the years and began to take it over. The leaves are slightly different, the flowers and berries are slightly different, and the vine is highly invasive. Watching the leaves change into their warm, fiery tones was an entirely new experience of nature for someone who grew up in the desert. We want to be doused in it. The burning bush is one shrub that gives people this drama. The burning bush is also—you guessed it—one of those Chinese exotic invasives.
Again, these shrubs are beautiful. The thing is, they take over and drown out not just the shrubby natives, but those that the shrubby natives serve as well.
For those reasons, imports of the burning bush have been prohibited in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Red Chokeberry shrubs are naturally an understory grows under tall woodland trees or woods-edge shrub, and are resistant to drought, insects, pollution, and disease.
Finally on this list is the one plant that I have the most disdain for. They deceived me upon moving to Indy, and continue to deceive the general public. Bradford Pears, otherwise known as a Callery Pear Pyrus calleryana , are the model story of an invasive gone wrong.
This tree poses a multitude of ecological, as well as safety, issues. Bradford pears are those trees that all explode with white flowers first thing in the season. Everyone loves them because they are our first hint of spring coming and winter going away.
They have this weird smell that accompanies them too. People seem to like that less. The issue with Bradford pears? They cross-pollinate with all our other pear trees, effectively turning them into more bradfords.
They have a weak branch structure and a horrible lifespan. Every single development you see with Bradford pears will be a danger zone come 20 years, or come the next wind storm.
These trees split and break at their narrow V-structured branches, causing damage to homes, cars and people. This article is a great general overview of why these trees are so terrible. Go with the state tree, a tulip poplar. Go with a maple or an oak. Go with an ash, or if you really want to make me happy, plant a birch tree. Oh, you want your white flowers? Then go with the beautiful flowering dogwood pictured above. These trees give you the same bang for a morally better buck.
If we could do a better job of including more of the alternatives into our landscaping, I think we would be so much better off.
The landscape would look different, help out the pollinators, fruits and vegetables across the area, and help us bring Indianapolis back to its roots. Does that mean you need to get rid of your love for exotic plants?
Not at all. Just go for the annuals and make some dramatic container arrangements that will give you all the beauty for the summer and then, most importantly, stay contained. Have you made changes to your landscape using native plants, shrubs and trees? Let me know. This post originally appeared on the City in Green website.
Many thanks to Joey for allowing us to share his work! Skip to main content. November 1,Plant This, Not That.
Because we want to help you, constant steward, to find an ecologically conscientious nursery. Are you thinking about purchasing cultivars? Learn more about these commonly sold plants here. Please email us information about your native plant nursery or your favorite natives-only nursery not listed here. Thank you! Izel Plants Mail order; retail and wholesale.
The Herb FARMacy, growers of organic plants, herbs, flowers, organic farm located on 10 acres in Salisbury, Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border.
Growing locally for over 50 years! Wentworth Greenhouses started out as a family farm in rural Rollinsford, NH selling squash and other vegetables. Wentworth grows beautiful plants year round and is your one stop garden center located in southern Nh, just over the Maine border. Featuring a large selection of seasonal plants, houseplants, perennials, trees, fruit, vegetables, herbs, water plants and a plethora of products to help you be successful with your garden projects. Remember me Log in. Lost your password? Wentworth Grown Poinsettias. Phone:Welcome Wentworth Greenhouses. Upcoming Events Browse Now.
The Concord Monitor is launching its Environmental Reporting Lab, a long-term effort to better inform the community about the New Hampshire environment. To launch phase 1 of this effort, we need your help. The money raised will go toward hiring a full-time environmental reporter. Five paperwhite bulbs fit into this soupbowl with gravel.
A vegetable garden can be the perfect addition to your landscape.
Many among us are experiencing increased frustration or anxiety, and have extra time to indulge these worries. Instead, why not think about starting your own vegetable garden? There has never been a better time to think about self-sufficiency and food security. Getting your head and hands buried in garden planning is just the thing to bring some light, joy, and creativity — not to mention fresh produce — into your life! Familiarize yourself with your local hardiness zone and predicted first and last frost date to inform your planting plans. Starting your vegetable garden begins with understanding your environment.
Edited and revised by David C. Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants. There are two types of propagation: sexual and asexual. Sexual reproduction is the union of the pollen and egg, drawing from the genes of two parents to create a new, third individual. Sexual propagation involves the floral parts of a plant. Asexual propagation involves taking a part of one parent plant and causing it to regenerate itself into a new plant.
Composting; Plant Disease. Fruit Cultivation; Pollinators. House Pests; Soil. Houseplants; Ticks. Insect Pests; Trees. Invasive Species; Vegetable Gardening.
Skip to content. Do your vegetable plants have leaves with holes chewed in them? Are the holes big or small?
We're building on our competitively priced, 'no frills' ethos with a new range of key products at down to earth prices! You'll find them throughout the catalogue , including in our 'Gardening Essentials' - those items of equipment that no gardener should be without! Look out for the Down To Earth badge across the site, and enjoy shopping the range today. Shrubs are a great long-term investment for your garden, providing focal design points and a structural background for flowering bedding plants. Hand picked by Dobies gardening specialists, our range of garden equipment offers you innovative, quality products.
For many, gardening takes place in the summer. However, for me, and a growing number of gardeners, we are growing in the garden nearly all year long!
The nurseries listed here are good suppliers of native plant material, based on our research and site visits. Our decision to include them is an independent editorial one; they are not paying for advertising. We include a broad diversity of suppliers, to serve the different needs of both amateur gardeners and professional landscapers— everything from small one-person operations to large nurseries selling millions of plants each year. If a nursery is both wholesale and retail, we list it under the retail category since these nurseries are open to anyone. There is no single nursery with a comprehensive supply of native species in all sizes, so expect to use a variety of sources. We highly recommend contacting any nursery ahead of time to check their availability. These suppliers are larger retail operations with regular hours.
Have a friend who admires your berry garden? A Nourse Farms Gift Certificate gets them on their way to their own fruitful adventure We include our very own Planting Guide with every order. It's a great resource for our customers, and it will lead you thrrough the entire planting process.